Kenya to use biometrics first, ID number second for voter verification in August election

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has determined that voters’ identities will be verified for eligibility in the upcoming election through checks using the subject’s ID number as a backup to the country’s biometric system.

The IEBC has proposed that ID numbers can be used for voter verification through the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) as an alternative to biometric checks, but former President and current Candidate Raila Odinga and his Kenya Kwanza coalition have said that a manual backup is not only practically but legally necessary, reports the Star.

Deputy President and Presidential Candidate William Ruto supports the exclusive use of the digital systems, as long as sufficient safeguards are in place.

“Biometric verification is the primary mode of identifying voters. Where a voter cannot be identified using biometrics, then the presiding officers shall use a complementary mechanism of alpha numeric search in the presence of agents,” IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said in a recent meeting, according to Mwakilishi.

IEBC Commissioner Abdi Guliye suggested that the use of up to 10 fingerprints to get a single match will mean few biometric failures. The commission is warning that reliance on manual systems will not prevent duplicate votes.

The Kenyan Broadcast Corporation shared video footage of political representatives expressing doubt at the effectiveness of the biometric system.

The recent history of biometrics in Kenyan elections is rife with allegations that have sparked fears for the upcoming vote and could undermine public confidence.

The election will take place on August 9.

Article Topics

Africa  |  biometrics  |  elections  |  identity verification  |  Kenya  |  voter registration

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